Don’t let your fear list put your big vision on pause

Light through red leavesFear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm

I woke up to the smell of burning plastic. I got up and began sniffing around our hotel room, trying to find the source. It wasn’t in the bathroom. It wasn’t in the hallway. It was definitely in our room. Using my phone as a flashlight, I looked around for what it could be and noticed particles floating through the phone’s weak light. Smoke. The room was filled with it.

We quickly called security, gathered our stuff, and were moved to another room. I’m not sure what caused the smoke and smell. Something about a screw falling loose in a heater/fan/air conditioner and an oil leak. Either way. We’re fine. A bit shaken up, but fine.

Thing is, it was never on my list. You know, the fear list. The one I sometimes run through my mind when I can’t sleep at night. A car driving into our house was never on the list (but it happened). Having my bag stolen at a yoga studio was never on the list (really, a yoga studio?). Many of the bad/challenging/scary things that have happened in my life were never on the list.

I tell this story because sometimes when we’re about to take a big leap towards our big vision, especially one that feels risky, our fear list can become quite long and loud. It’s possible some of the things on the list might happen; it’s also possible they might not. It’s possible something challenging might happen that you couldn’t possibly imagine; it’s also possible it might not. Whatever happens. You’ll be OK. Really. You can handle it. Don’t let your fear list put your big vision on pause.


“You can sit down with that fearful child inside and be gentle with him or her. You might say something like this: ‘Dear little child, I am your adult self. I would like to tell you that we are no longer a baby, helpless and vulnerable. We have strong hands and strong feet; we can very well defend ourselves. So there is no reason why we have to continue to be fearful anymore.’”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm

Photo by me.